Multi camera rig - how to get going without hassle?

Dear community!

I spend a lot of time documenting parts of my city in a structured fashion, but only using my iPhone, i.e. one camera, with a max throughput of 1 fps.

I have a lot of appetite for investing a little in some better equipment and especially in something that enables be to take multiple angles and thus optimize the payback on the time I spend, i.e. a four camera rig that could bring be to 4-8 fps.

I’ve trawled through the forum and read (i believe) all of the posts on how people have build their rigs, combined software, used scripts for doing this/that, etc. So, I know that this can be done and I know that Mapillary is improving the base software with multi-camera control.

My problem is that I’m not the type of guy that will build my own rig. I’m not the type of guy who wants to spend hours trying to get different kinds of software and scripts to work together. I am the type of guy who would like to spend time taking the pictures :smile:

So long question short, what is the easiest, i.e. most pre-cooked solution, route to take my capturing “to the next level”. If no options are currently available, is there any outlooks?

Hi!

For iOS, the easiest way would be to buy 1-4 Garmin Virb XE cameras as you can control all of these from the Mapillary app. You can read some about it here: http://blog.mapillary.com/update/2016/04/28/multiple-garmin-ios.html

With the current firmware, the cheaper Garmin X cameras seem to crash after a while. I have notified Garmin about this, but once they get a fix out, they should work just as well. Main difference is that XE cameras can take photos with 0.5 s intervalls, and X only with 1 s intervals.

Be aware that the current implementation in the app makes the workflow time consuming:

  1. Capture
  2. Sync one camera with phone
  3. Review and upload from phone
  4. Repeat 2 and 3 for each camera

We are working on a desktop uploader which will add another optional and faster workflow:

  1. Capture
  2. Transfer photos from each camera to computer via cable or directly from each memory card
  3. Review and upload from computer

Hi Anders!

I did read the blog-post and it was actually that post that gave me the thirst for doing more than just my iPhone.

With the current state of the Garmin solution, I was still concerned about the amount of tinkering needed and that was the reason why I researched further on the forum. Concerns where actually raised on the forum whether the Virb XE could sustain 2 fps? When this solution matures I will absolutely be interested.

So my post is basically questioning if there is current alternatives that will require less tinkering?

In your case I would suggest you look at a spherical/360 degree camera.

You want simplicity, and multiple cameras are not simple. I have not tried the multi cam setup with an iPhone, because I am an Apple hater. But you will face the problem that 4 cameras are 4 times as many cameras as 1. That will also give you 4 times as many problems and requires 4 times more time to setup.

A problem with spherical cameras is, that many does not have a GPS, which gives you an extra step in geotagging, but there are many programs with a nice user interface that will do that. You can then use the web uploader.

As you see from my profile, I own a lot. I have tried two smartphone cradles on the windscreen of my car, but that blocks too much vision, and safety comes first.
Now I ordered this three ball rig from Ram Mounts
http://www.mountingexpert.be/en/product/ram-b-289u/

I might try it on my bike.

By the way, my old Samsung GS5 works faster without the SD card.